Pulling back the curtain: The experiences and perceptions of employment discrimination among African American women in the human resource profession
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Research on organizations, occupations, and work seldom examines the experiences and perceptions of employment discrimination among African American women in the human resource profession. Furthermore, the bulk of research on employment discrimination is quantitative, utilizes limited national sampling, and primarily covers the analysis of legal artifacts (e.g., consent decrees, court cases) and the meta-analysis of research findings in publications. Qualitative inquiry of employment discrimination tends to rely on simulated experimental research techniques or a limited number of case studies instead of in-depth interviews of actual events and experiences. To fill the lacuna in the literature, this study examines the experiences and perceptions of employment discrimination among African American women in the human resource profession using data from in-depth semi-structured interviews. Results of this study show that African American women in the human resource profession experience employment discrimination and unfair workplace treatment in hiring, compensation, promotion, training, job assignments, job classifications, and performance evaluations due to their race, gender, and/or the intersectionality of their race and gender. Such marginalization and discrimination greatly impact the career opportunities, career advancement, workplace interactions, and emotional and physical health of African American women. This study adds to the literature on employment discrimination by focusing on African American women in the human resource profession. The findings of this study suggest that employment discrimination or unfair workplace treatment against African American women in the human resource profession is a real thing that continues today. The findings also have practical implications for employers to develop policies and practices that combat, reduce, and eliminate discrimination in all aspects of employment in the human resource profession and perhaps other professions.
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